Brewer's Droop #248

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Oh, it’s so good to be back ranting again!

WHILE I WAS AWAY

I’ve been away for a while so when I arrived back after hearing what’s been happening with No.1 (and hoping against all odds that he would have resigned by now) it was predictable to see that nothing much has changed despite all the court judgements and the howls from the people. In fact, if anything, Zuma’s position may even be stronger than before – and this could spell disaster for the ANC as well as the country as a whole.

Although still in office, the giggler seems to be losing a lot of friends recently – but, as Tony Leon said, you mustn’t under-estimate the man because he knows where all the bodies are.

And then there’s South Africa’s favourite family, the Guptas.

My guess is that 99.9% of us had that warm, fuzzy Schadenfreude minute when all four major banks refused to have anything to do with them anymore. And, right on cue, the ANC Women’s League blasted ABSA for “backing the apartheid regime”. This race card issue is absurdly funny. It happens often. Every time anyone does something which upsets a group like that, out come the racist chanters who, disregarding all the facts, blindly spout their drivel. (The overseas press were quick to pick up on this, by the way).

But I cannot believe that there are not, at least, some women in that league who understand just HOW BAD Zuma is for this country. They can’t all be imbeciles can they?

Perhaps they can. Nothing surprises me.

Anyway, I hope the Gupta’s enjoy living wherever they’ve gone to. Hopefully it will be nicer and even more “profitable” than South Africa (if that’s possible).

GORDON RAMSAY AND JAMIE OLIVER ET AL ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT

I recently read a food critic’s advice on how to braai a large piece of beef. Now this is something I can, in all honesty, say that I know something about. So I was impressed with his description of how to prepare one of my favourite meals.

That is, until the last paragraph when he said “…please, the meat is already dead – so anything more than rare, medium rare is ruining the meat, and you might as well be eating cardboard.”

How does this guy have the gall to be so predictive?

It’s up to me (and you) how we want our steaks cooked. How can he possibly understand our individual tastes? If I want my steak bleu then I damn well will cook it like that. Similarly, if I want it cooked so well that there’s not a hint of pink in it then that’s what I’m going to do. How dare anyone else tell me how it should be done? (I always offer my guests the option – of course it always comes out the same but that’s not the point).

It’s like people telling me that tea should be made in a mug with a tea bag and the milk being added last. Sorry, but that might be okay for you but not for those who take tea-drinking seriously – as I do.

Actually there is an extremely good reason why tea should be made in a pot and milk put into the cup first. It’s this: in the days when tea making was more of a ceremony than dipping a tea bag into a mug of water. Then, tea was drunk from the finest, thinest of thin china cups. They put the milk in first so as to avoid the boiling water – from the pot – splashing onto the bone china with a strong possibility of of the cup cracking – hence, you put the milk in first). Also, I knew some graduates in the 1970’s who conducted many tests and wrote a paper on the subject and they concluded that MIF tastes better.

But, if dunking tea bags is your preference then go for it.

If you prefer very sweet tea then go right ahead and put as many spoons of sugar as you wish into the cup – it’s your preference. If you want to put ice in your red wine then please, be my guest and do so. Similarly, if you want to spread Marmite on your fish fingers then go ahead and ladle it on. It’s your choice.

And another thing. There have been a number of restaurants making the news lately about not allowing customers to take their unfinished meals home with them. WTF? Who the hell are they to tell me what I can or cannot do with the food I’ve paid for? If I want to wash my hands in the soup then that’s my prerogative. Similarly, if I want to take my unfinished chops home for my dog then get out of the way mister. They’re MY chops and I’ll do whatever I like with them. Needless to say, I would love to be challenged by one of these uppity cooks to try and stop me. (Watch this space: arrest imminent).

Many years ago I did go to a renowned poncey restaurant and ordered a well-done steak just to annoy everyone. The waiter said the chef refused to grill it that way so I asked them to cook it as well as he could. When it arrived I called them over and said “this is too rare” and asked them to grill it some more. I did this at least three times until (frankly) it was virtually inedible but I hope you get my point. I think the cook did and I hope he remembers that the customer is always right. By the way, I actually prefer my steak rare but that’s unimportant – it’s my choice, nobody else’s.

A PASSIONATE EVENING I’LL NEVER FORGET

While I was in Europe I saw a lot of amazing things but there was just one event that will remain forever etched in my mind. It was in Barcelona.

If you ever find yourself there (and I’m hesitant to strongly recommend anything because it’s a question of personal preference) a place that is REALLY worth visiting is Tablao Flamenco Cordobes in Las Ramblas.

I’ve never seen live flamenco before and I cannot even begin to explain the profound effect it had on me. I was in tears within minutes. The sheer passion was breathtaking. It felt like my soul had been put through a mangle. Simply put, it was jaw-dropping. There is no better adjective I can think of to describe it.

I mean, I’m sitting there, mouth open and tears streaming down my face and I can’t understand a single word they’re singing, I don’t even begin to even understand the story they’re telling! But it was sad and happy and vibrant and I have never been quite so moved. And all this emotion from a few overweight ladies, an emaciated Spanish bloke burning the floor and guitarists who must, by the end, have no fingers left whatsoever.

My friends criticised me for not seeing the cathedrals and monasteries but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

It’s one moment in my life I will never forget. Never. Ever.

When you next go, please do try to book for one of their shows. I strongly doubt you will ever regret (nor forget) it.

Anyway, that’s enough cultural stuff.

ONE LAST THING ABOUT ORDERING FOOD

I went to a beach bar cafe recently just outside of Cape Town and I was pleased to see a “Banting Burger” on the menu (not that I’m a banter myself).

​It was described as “a burger with cheese and mushrooms with a side Greek salad”. It sounded lovely, and it was.
So I ordered one and the young smiley girl, really willing to please but perhaps a little on the simple side, wrote it down and then said “do you want chips with that?”

Well, it made me laugh anyway.

Okay, so I think I might try one more rib-eye steak on the braai before the real Cape storms arrive. Let’s hope this winter’s not too bad. If it is then it’s stews in front of the fire with my wet Labrador and a splendid merlot.

Stay warm (a little Flamenco might help!)

Chris

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Comments

  1. Missed you Chris! Great rant!

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  2. Stews in front of the fire with a splendid “Whisky” Chris – Not a Merlot !!!

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    • Of course Ken, what was I thinking? Merlot is a breakfast drink after all!

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      • Merlot might make a fine breakfast drink, but whiskey and milk does it for me in the morning ( commonly known as a white mouse) – a delicious holiday breakfast tipple.

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      • Merlot may well be a breakfast drink , but when on holiday, whiskey and milk makes a very fine morning tipple! Commonly known as a white mouse…. Delicious!

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  3. Welcome back Chris. And let me know if you want to see great flamenco right there in the Cape :)

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    • Thanks John, but am not sure I’ve recovered from the first one yet!

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  4. You’re not quite right about the English tea ceremony. I agree that it must be made in a pot. Way back in time, working class English put the milk in 1st because they used cheap earthenware cups which cracked with hot tea. Upper class English used bone china which is not heat sensitive, so they put the tea in first and then adjusted the taste with the milk. This class distinction still survives in Old Blighty! However milk in first tastes better because the milk doesn’t get “bruised” (denatured). so much.

    Keep ranting – I love them

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  5. Hi Chris. Are you sure it was flamenco and not fado? It is very powerful.

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    • Fado is definitely my next thing Rolf.

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  6. Sadly, when I was in Barcelona on the wonderful Las Ramblas, the show had taken a break for Christmas… The whole atmosphere anyway was great, and only scary when the crowd got rushed by the police on New Year’s Eve. Thankfully I snuck off to the side and didn’t get caught up in it!

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  7. Welcome back Chris, you were missed. I thought you’d be happy to hear that the Guptas have taken up residence in a gazillion dollar mansion in Dubai. Hopefully they’ll have space for Zuma and his bevvy of beautiful wives…pfffft!

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  8. Would be very interested to know where you can see great Flamenco in the Cape – re John’s comment!

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  9. Loved reading this, as always.

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    • Thanks Carole – I love reading your messages too!

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  10. Good to catch up with you again, missed you stax!
    Thanks for the Barcelona advice, heading there for my first trip ever this August

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    • Ole!

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